The Associated Press' Brian Slodysko reported Monday that the Senate GOP's top choice to run in Pennsylvania, former hedge fund manager David McCormick, lives in a $16 million Connecticut mansion that "features a 1,500-bottle wine cellar, an elevator and a 'private waterfront resort' overlooking Long Island Sound."
McCormick listed the rented property in Westport, which is in the heart of the Nutmeg State's affluent "Gold Coast" region, as his address on both a January document selling his $13.4 million Manhattan condo and a March campaign contribution. Slodysko notes that McCormick's children also attend private school in Connecticut. The story further observes that McCormick carried out virtual interviews earlier this year from his New England mansion, a fact the reporter was able to ascertain because "[d]istinguishing features in the background match pictures that were posted publicly before the McCormicks moved in."
That last detail may give the GOP some unwelcome déjà vu after the disastrous candidacy of Mehmet Oz, who lost last year's race for Pennsylvania's other Senate seat from his own mansion in New Jersey. Oz, after narrowly defeating none other than McCormick by 950 votes in the GOP primary, even filmed some of ads from his palatial home overlooking the Manhattan skyline—a blunder that Democrat John Fetterman's campaign discovered and blasted out far and wide.
Fetterman was able to identify the location of his opponent's shoot because People magazine had helpfully profiled the house a few years earlier, complete with a six-minute video revealing distinctive decorative elements—including a candlestick—similarly found peeking out from behind Oz.
McCormick, unlike Oz, actually grew up in Pennsylvania, but he lived in Connecticut from 2009 until he sold a different mansion there in late 2021 ahead of his first campaign. The candidate, who purchased a home in Pittsburgh, argued at the time he'd never really left behind his native state and pointed to his continued ownership of his family's Christmas tree farm in Bloomsburg as evidence.
McCormick, whose 2022 primary vote for himself marked the first time in 16 years that he'd cast a ballot in the Keystone State, sought to play up his Pennsylvania roots even after his tight loss to Oz. "We’re not going anywhere," he insisted. "This is my home." Political observers immediately began to speculate that he could challenge Sen. Bob Casey in 2024, an idea that delighted the GOP establishment. But McCormick has played coy all year: NRSC chair Steve Daines, according to The Dispatch, joked to a room full of donors this spring that they should "beg" him to run.
The once and perhaps future candidate, for his part, declared in March, "People want to know that the person that they’re voting for ‘gets it.' And part of ‘getting it’ is understanding that you just didn’t come in yesterday." A spokesperson told Slodysko that McCormick "maintains a residence in Connecticut as his daughters finish high school" but his "home is in Pittsburgh."
McCormick's team, however, declined to answer questions about how much of his time he spends in Connecticut. It's also not clear how long he's occupied the Westport mansion, though Slodysko writes that it went off the market in January of last year, at about the same time that McCormick was selling his other property in the state.
Both parties have long expected McCormick to take on Casey, though multiple Republicans recently indicated to the Philadelphia Inquirer that they didn't think he'd made up his mind. "I was told he stuck his toe in the Atlantic Ocean and the temperature's not where he needs it to be right now," said one party official, adding, "I think at some point, we will just go ahead and plunge in, but I dunno when that day will be." (You can't actually tip your toe into the Atlantic from anywhere in Pennsylvania―but you sure can off the Gold Coast.) If McCormick does surprise everyone and sits out the race, it's not clear who, if anyone, the NRSC has in mind as a backup option.
P.S. McCormick may have one other argument he can use to defend his Keystone State bona fides that Oz couldn't use. "There are parts of Northern PA that were claimed by Connecticut at the time of the nation’s founding," snarked Willamette University history professor Seth Cotlar, "so maybe McCormick is claiming PA residence on originalist grounds?"